SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Despite police efforts to prevent auto burglaries, San Francisco is dealing with a car break-in epidemic.
Car break-ins jumped 26 percent in San Francisco so far this year, despite the police chief’s focus on prevention.
San Francisco saw 91 car burglaries every day in a single month this fall.
In the year ending in October, car burglaries jumped from more than 25,000 to nearly 31,000, according to new numbers from the San Francisco Police Department.
Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the hardest hit neighborhoods.
Justin Harris has been a victim.
“It was at night. Seven cars were broken into at the same time,” Harris said.
He said he doesn’t really think police are doing enough to address the problem.
And the crimes haven’t let up, even after San Francisco police Chief Bill Scott disbanded a special task force to investigate break-ins in August, to focus more foot patrols on prevention.
In fact, car burglaries soared 30 percent since August, to more than 2,800 in October.
Police say the increase does not mean the chief’s plan is failing.
“Between October and November auto burglaries trended down by 11 percent. We are hammering at this as best we can. It’s too soon to say whether this is a successful program,” said San Francisco police Officer Robert Rueca.
Police say they’re dealing with a group of serial burglars and they’ve made some arrests, including 140 by Central Station in six months. KPIX 5 was not able to find out immediately how many of them were actually charged.
But some drivers are taking matters into their own hands.
There’s an @SFCARBreakins Twitter handle where victims like tourist Justin Harris reported his Christmas Eve laptop and luggage theft.
Starting next week, police will launch a public service announcement. It will be an educational campaign, reminding drivers not to leave anything visible in their cars that would make it a target.
Police will also hand out flyers starting in the Ocean Beach area and working their way around the city.